Court sets aside judgement in Adebutu’s favour

•Orders retrial of case on merit

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday set aside an earlier judgment of the Federal High Court in favour of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Oladipupo Adebutu.

A three-member panel of Justices of the Appellate court, in a unanimous decision, faulted the judgement of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja (now retired), which declined jurisdiction to entertain a suit by Jimi Adebisi Lawal.

Lawal is challenging the PDP’s utilisation of a delegates’ list as against the list of delegates who were elected at the ward congresses for the conduct of the May 25, 2022, governorship primary election.

But, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Federal High Court has jurisdiction over the case as it is a pre-election matter.

The court also ordered the remittal of the case to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho for the hearing of the case on merit.

The judge held that since the trial court failed to decide the suit on its merit and the period of 180 days, for determination of pre-election cases, is still running, the suit should be remitted to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for prompt assignment to another judge for trial.

Other members of the panel are, Justices M. Mustapha and Danlami Senchi agreed with the lead judgment.

It would be recalled that two factions of the PDP conducted parallel primaries that produced Adebutu and Segun Sowunmi as candidates of the party in the 2023 governorship election in the state.

The primary that produced Sowunmi, which was held at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abeokuta, the state capital, was said to have been monitored by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and members of the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC).

However, the primary that produced Adebutu, a former member of the House of Representatives, was held at the Olusegun Obasanjo presidential library in the state capital.

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